Newcastle, Australia, Nov 28, 2018 / 11:51 am
Lawyers representing Archbishop Philip Wilson, who was convicted in May of failing to report allegations of child sexual abuse disclosed to him in the 1970s, appealed his conviction this week in a Newcastle court.
Archbishop Wilson was convicted May 22 of failing to report abuse committed by Fr. James Fletcher when Fletcher was charged with child sex abuse in 2004. The victims of the scandal, Peter Creigh and another altar boy who is unnamed for legal reasons, said they both had told Wilson in 1976 of their abusive experience with Fr. Fletcher.
The archbishop has maintained his innocence throughout the process, saying he had no recollection of the accusations, and insisting that if he had been notified of the scandal, he would have offered pastoral care to the victims and their families, and reported the event to his superiors.
Archbishop Wilson's lawyer, Stephen Odgers, argued Nov. 27-28 that Creigh may not have clearly communicated to Wilson that he had been indecently assaulted, suggesting that under the law in 1976, the act described to Wilson was an indecency, but not an assault.